The Massachusetts Clean Energy and Climate Plan (CECP) proposal for 2030 has many laudable features that will help the state reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The CECP calls for a sharp increase in renewable energy, improved electricity transmission, the conversion of one million homes to electric heat, a major commitment to building energy efficiency upgrades and more.
However, Green Newton is concerned about the lack of goals for increasing, expanding, and electrifying public transit. We are disappointed that the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) 2021 Capital Investment Plan includes purchasing 460 diesel buses and 25 diesel trains, committing the State to diesel for decades. In January 2021, MassDOT voted to delay work on the Newtonville commuter rail accessibility and infrastructure improvements for a year, removing $12 million from the FY20-21 budget for the project.
As the CECP itself states, transportation is the largest sector of greenhouse gas emissions. It is the only sector that is increasing. The plan also states that an increase in Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) may ‘offset some or all’ of the benefits from ‘fuel switching’ (electric vehicles), and ‘alternative transportation modes’ (walking, biking, and mass transit).
We urge the State to reduce both Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) and particulate matter pollution by increasing, expanding, and electrifying public transportation. The public can comment on the State’s proposed CECP and comment on the MassDOT CIP. Also, call Governor Baker at 617 725-4005 to ask him to invest in expanding and electrifying public transit.
Marcia Cooper, President, Green Newton
Lucia Dolan, Co-Chair, Green Newton Transportation Group